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BABY STEPS: TWO MAJOR AGREEMENTS HAVE HOUSTON PARK CLOSE

          The Harris County Houston Authority took "two major
     steps" Wednesday toward ensuring that the cost of a new
     downtown ballpark will not exceed $250M, according to John
     Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  The authority
     "unanimously approved" a contract for "up to" $17.85M with
     K.C-based architects HOK and others to design the
     retractable roof stadium.  The authority also unanimously
     approved a "tentative" deal with Houston-based Brown & Root
     to build the park for "no more than" $229.5M, with the firm
     and the authority to "share any savings equally."  Brown &
     Root will get a "guaranteed" $7.5M to manage construction of
     the facility and, "in return, will guarantee any cost
     overruns."  A final contract with Brown & Root is "likely to
     be approved" by December 15 (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/4).

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